Translated by Yun Xiao
¡@¡@ZJ is just too busy, so busy that he has to sqeeze time out to sleep, dealing with the media, filming his TV series, replying his fans on his web site.....like now, very soon he'll be leaving for Taiwan to go on a promotional tour for Huan Zhu Ge Ge II with Zhao Wei and Fan Bing Bing, the reason why he drove himself to my home for this interview, firstly because he's thankful that "Milky Way Magazine" has done 3 interviews of him, the other reason is to save time. "It took you 2 hours to locate me on the phone, look, it only took me half an hour to get to you" as soon as
we met, ZJ sincerely said that, he's so open and frank, making our conversation very candid.
Reporter (R): If you have the freedom, will you choose to play Er Kang again?
ZJ: Yes, I really like this character, the reason why is that this character lets me thoroughly act, and present this person in full dimension. Er Kang is good at both literary and action side, so he lets an actor have a lot of leeway in developing this character. Like the fact that his Kung Fu technique is first in the empire, his essays are superb and his love is so single-minded, these are all facets I'd like to try (develop), especially his attitude towards relationship, really has a lot in common with my own views. I also value relationship very much, if I think someone is nice, worth my love, I'll forget everything to go after her. Er Kang's passion and sincerity towards Zi Wei, always find me in agreement, I ¡¥m moved to think that love should be like that between Er Kang and Zi Wei, knowing each other, loving each other, falling for each other, respecting and sharing each other's lives. This kind of love will not be separated by social status, alienated by richness or poverty, or destroyed by any kind of material chaos. Humans are an emotional animal, no matter it's love between kins, friends or man and woman, the most important is truth/sincerity. Truth is the basis of communication between humans. But in the present society, men as responsible as Er Kang, as loyal to his superiors, as filial towards his parents, and as steadfast in love toward his lover are very rare. That's why I want to try hard to be this kind of man.
R: What are some similarities between you and Er Kang in real life?
ZJ: The one similarity is our doggedness towards love. I am a very emotional person, if in real life I can get to meet someone like Er Kang met Zi Wei, I'm sure I won't be any less than Er Kang.
R: How do you feel about acting with Lin Xin Ru?
ZJ: We cooperate and work well together. You can see that from HZGG series I, the audience can detect that. If we didn't work well together, a lot of very passionate scenes would not have gone on. If the acting is not good, audiences will not take it and we'll be failing in our art. But I think we can be even better. I've told Xin Ru before, we need to think clearly the reasoning behind every scene. Why is the scene handled that way, how to handle each scene in relationship to Xiao Yan Zi, to the Emperor, to 5 Ah Ge and other relationships, including the situation that you're in, how you deliver the dialog, use of phrases and body language etc. Every little detail should be taken care of. Most people think I overacted Er Kang, in both delivery and body language, but I think that's what the drama required. Besides, I borrowed from opera's techniques. Of course, I'm not alone in borrowing from opera, in past classic movies, such as " Heroic man and woman", Wang Cheng said "Shoot me with the canon!!!", in "Dong Zun Rei", the lead actor held dynamite in his hand yelling "March forward for new China!!!" etc., these are all developed on the opera techniques. That's why I don't think actors should mechanically animate a script, but they should treat characters in all dimensions and angles.
R: In the drama, Zi Wei is Er Kang's greatest and only love, in real life, will you compare Zi Wei to your own girl friend?
ZJ: I can't reply this question entirely, Zi Wei is a very traditional girl, I live in the present. If I live in that era, Zi Wei of course is the best. But I' m really not Er Kang, so I wish my real life Zi Wei has to be not only kind, with traditional virtue, she also needs to have a side that's open and active. Let's say, if I'm looking for a partner, my first choice will be a fresh, healthy and lively person. A sickly beauty will not walk into my life.
R: Most of your audience thinks that you know how to use your eyes to express your feelings in the series, in other words, you are an expert in romance, how do you feel about Xin Ru outside of acting?
ZJ: It's natural to connect the characters in a drama to real life actors. I've worked with Xin Ru for over a year now, I can say we understand each other relatively well. Xin Ru and Zi Wei are really quite different. She is a lively, open, trendy, very modern girl. In my personal opinion, if Xin Ru is to play Xiao Yan Zi, it will probably be a better utilization of her talents. Outside of acting, Xin Ru and I are good friends, but we have no romantic feelings. Also, Xin Ru and I have very different experiences in life and are from very different environments. Our points of view and feelings therefore are very different, but that doesn't affect our friendship. That's why, I treat Xin Ru, Su You Peng and Chen Zhi Peng like younger brothers and sister.
R: Why is the story of Er Kang and Zi Wei so attractive for audiences? What are your feelings about it?
ZJ: I really want to be in love, but right now I don't have time to. Falling in love is a beautiful thing, it also needs time, to communicate, to be romantic together, then you can develop your feelings, just like Er Kang and Zi Wei in the You You Valley, they gave each other tender feelings and express their love. Er Kang has become everyone's prince on a white horse and lover, really because in real life, our mental pressure is too much, men who are poor, wants to kill themselves making money, and those men who are successful, want to expand their career, to succeed again, then they spend very little time to be with their wives and children, and it's very hard to pay as much attention and tenderness as in their first love. In fact, women not only need protection and tenderness from their men during dating, when they get to 30 or 40 years old or even older, they still need their men's love and romance. Er Kang's behavior, really fit in the wish of most women. And for men? They naturally want to find someone who won't look for just material things, who's loyal to them no matter what. And it's so hard to find someone so stubbornly loyal in love. That's why Zi Wei's steadfast dedication to love became thousands and thousands of men's desire. Actually, Er Kang and Zi Wei's love story has been so accepted by the audience, that it just reflects the need of a rich materialistic society's strong desire and wish for pure and perfect love and life. "An actor's interpretation of a character, ultimately, is a purification process. Through Er Kang's character, I feel like having gone through a soul cleansing, I know myself more clearly, and treat others better. This I can say is my greatest spiritual reward from playing Er Kang."